UF researchers are looking to make hospital stays of older patients a safer experience.
Two UF researchers have received a $2.57 million grant to begin a project aiming to prevent death and injury in older hospitalized patients, said Robert Lucero, a UF associate professor of nursing.
The five-year grant was awarded to Lucero and assistant professor Ragnhildur Bjarnadottir. It is funded by the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health, Lucero said.
“We put our heads together, me as the expert in manipulating the structured data and [Bjarnadottir] as the expert in manipulating the text data,” Lucero said. “And we wrote this grant, and, for lack of better words — hit big.”
This project will look at registered nurses’ observation notes and examine those patients, specifically older patients, who are at a higher risk of hospital-induced falls and delirium.
The two researchers submitted their grant in June 2018 and were awarded the funding in late March.
“Usually we have to submit these grants multiple times, but we submitted it once and were funded on the first submission,” he said.
The researchers hope to discover things not previously known about the care of patients from the nurses’ notes, Lucero said. They also hope to construct a method to process those notes more efficiently, so that they’re usable by hospitals and researchers.
But the main goal of the project is to answer the question of the safety of older adults in hospitals.
In the first two years of the grant, five faculty members are funded and in the last three years, at least eight faculty members will be funded, he said.
Since UF has received the funding for the grant, student interest in the matter has grown, Lucero said.
For Carly Reeves, a 22-year-old UF graduate with a bachelor’s in nursing, studying these projects and pursuing this research would be valuable because many future careers and potential graduate schools require a research component.
“Just from my clinical experiences, falls related to delirium and other causes occur so often and could [be more so] prevented,” Reeves said.
Ragnhildur Bjarnadottir, Ph.D., left, and Robert Lucero, Ph.D., plan to use nurses' notes for their project in improving the safety for hospitalized older adults.